11/21/2009 1:00AM

$110K topper as sale nears its end


LEXINGTON, Ky. - Juddmonte Farm's homebred colt Lease of Life brought a session-topping $110,000 bid Saturday at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale's penultimate session.

Jay Manoogian's bid for Lease of Life was the only six-figure bid on a day that otherwise saw a continuation of the declines seen all week.

The session sold 154 horses for $1,195,800, down 52 percent from last year's equivalent session total for 209 horses. The $7,765 average was 36 percent lower, and the $3,500 median was down 59 percent. Buybacks only increased slightly, from 23 percent last season to 24 percent, but the session was hit with many withdrawals as consignors opted not to face the difficult sale climate.

Cumulatively, 12 of 13 sessions have sold 2,648 horses for $158,924,200, down 12 percent; for an average of $60,017, down 19 percent; and a $21,000 median, down 25 percent. Buybacks stand at 21 percent, down from 29 percent last year.

Mill Ridge Sales, agent, consigned Lease of Life, a 4-year-old winner by Cozzene and out of the Graustark mare Kinema. He is a full brother to current Juddmonte stallion and Grade 1 winner Mizzen Mast.

Friday's 11th session also posted precipitous declines. Keeneland sold 233 horses for $1,778,400, a drop of 41 percent from last year's gross for 230 horses. The session average plummeted 41 percent to $7,633, and the median fell 50 percent to $5,000 for the second consecutive session. Buybacks held nearly level with last year, falling from 21.2 percent last year to 20.7 percent in 2009.

The auction was to end Sunday, with the final session starting at 10 a.m.

Southern Halo dies at 26

Southern Halo, sire of Grade 1-winning sire More Than Ready and Argentina's premier stallion before his pensioning this year, has died in Argentina at age 26.

The Halo horse was retired at Haras la Quebrada and died Nov. 19, the farm announced, due to infirmities of old age. He led Argentina's sire list for seven years and also was that nation's leading broodmare sire for four years; he leads the latter table again this year. He was known as "the Argentine Sadler's Wells" for his domination of the stallion rankings there.

Southern Halo's accomplishments as a racehorse include second-place finishes in the Grade 1 Super Derby and Swaps Stakes in 1986. He was well-traveled as a stallion, standing in Argentina and Japan as well as the United States, where he was a resident at Coolmore Stud's Kentucky division, Ashford Stud. It was in his stud career that he made his biggest mark. In addition to More Than Ready, Southern Halo also got 18 champions and 56 Grade or Group 1 winners, including Canadian champion Edenwold, Argentine champion and U.S. Grade 1 winner Miss Linda, two-time Argentine champion El Compinche, and Argentine Horse of the Year Team.

Southern Halo sired 20 crops and has progeny earnings of more than $48.8 million so far.

Southern Halo was a son of the Northern Dancer mare Northern Sea, a Grade 3 winner and Grade 1-placed runner.

Chief Seattle relocating to Indiana

New York stallion Chief Seattle, will depart the state for Indiana. In a deal brokered by Matt Bowling of The Stallion Company, WinRich Farms in North Vernon, Ind., purchased the 12-year-old horse and will stand him at their property in 2010. Chief Seattle previously stood at Empire Stud in Hudson, N.Y., as the property of Darley Stud.

The Seattle Slew horse is the sire of such runners as Bold Chieftain, a millionaire and multiple stakes-winner who recently took the California Cup Classic. Chief Seattle also is the sire of Canada's champion 3-year-old colt in 2006, Shillelagh Slew, and of Grade 2 winner Seafree.

Chief Seattle was runner-up in the 1999 Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Champagne Stakes.

Chief Seattle is out of the Icecapade mare Skatingonthinice.

* Fasig-Tipton's Texas December mixed auction, which will take place Dec. 14 at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Tex., will feature 105 horses, down sharply from last year's 221-horse catalog. The 2009 edition includes 63 broodmares and 24 weanlings as well as yearlings and horses of racing age and the Texas stallion Menhal. The one-session auction will start at noon.

* Epsom Derby winner Motivator will miss the 2010 breeding season at the Royal Studs in England after injuring a tendon on a hind leg, Racing Post reports. Motivator underwent tendon surgery in September. The 7-year-old Montjeu horse's first crop includes Group 2 winner Pollenator and Group 3-placed Prompter.